Rodney Green's good fortune was his name. The eerie terrace cry of
'Ro...dneee... Ro...dneee', wailed slowly and plangently, is a
footballing folk memory from the days when Rodney was a sublime player.
He was a symbol of the swinging sixties, red e-type Jags, Lucy in the
Sky, Carnaby Street, Afghan coats and "Ready, Steady, Go". His hair
fashionably long, his body fashionably sleek, he played for a club once
thought of as small-time, going nowhere and forever in the shadow of its
fashionable London neighbours. But now, thanks to Rodney's dashing
skills, physical grace and boyish good looks, they had arrived.
I'm not talking about Watford and Rodney Green. I am referring to Rodney
Marsh and QPR, who in the late 60s epitomised all that was romantic and
glamorous. Consequently, to have a 'Rodney' in the side during this
period meant that we too could be glamorous. The only reason that this
breathless lump of marinated lard was signed, was that he was called
Rodney, so we too could wail 'Ro...dneee... Ro...dneee.'
Of dashing skills, physical grace and boyish good looks, our Rodney had
none. You've heard of one-footed players. Well, Rodney Green was a
no-footed player. Comically unfit, he was signed by Ken Furphy from the
scummers as a part-time player. Training was to him an alien concept. My
memory of him is that he used to play with a fag in his mouth, but I
might have made that up. The sight of him huffing and puffing for
breath having tried to run five yards is, however, something I have not
Useless he might have been but bloody hell, we loved him! During the
great 1968/69 Third Division Championship season he scored five goals,
three of them crucial match winning goals. And why we loved him so much
was that two of those goals were scored in the dying moments, in front
of the Rookery, when away sides Brighton and Mansfield had apparently
held out for a draw. There is nothing like the ecstatic and sudden
relief of a last-minute match winner and Rodney got two of them.
He would stagger up from the bench, take off his tracksuit and lumber
into action. He soared above defences like a lead balloon. He puffed, he
gasped, he got us points that won the Championship. When others were
injured, occassional first team appearances came his way but the sight
of Rodney's name on the teamsheet would make your heart sink because it
probably meant the immortal Barry Endean was injured.
But as a super sub, no-one come's near to Ro...dneeeeee.......